The military says Defense Secretary Ash Carter "misspoke" when he told a Senate committee Wednesday the northern Iraqi city of Mosul would be "enveloped" by Iraq and Kurdish forces within five weeks.
Initially, U.S. military officials were scratching their heads about Carter's testimony before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, in which he appeared to be offering an overly optimistic timetable for the liberation of the de facto Islamic State capital in Iraq.
The secretary did seem a bit tongue-tied during the exchange in which he confused the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with the Iraqi city of Ramadi. "Some of those are [Iraqi security] forces coming from the south, some of them are two brigades of Peshmerga coming from the north. We would like to complete that envelopment before Ramadi," apparently referring to Ramadan.
What the secretary meant to say, according to a military spokesman, is that Iraqis will begin "positioning" forces for the future envelopment of Mosul before Ramadan, which begins June 6, not that the envelopment would be complete by then.